The European Commission has approved a smallpox vaccine for use against monkeypox after the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency, the Danish drugmaker who developed the jab said on Monday.
“The European Commission has extended the marketing authorization of the company’s smallpox vaccine, Imvanex, to include protection against monkeypox,” Bavarian Nordic said in a statement.
“The approval … is valid in all EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.”
On Saturday, the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, a global health emergency – the highest alarm it could sound.
Imvanex has been approved in the European Union since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox.
It was also considered a potential vaccine for monkeypox due to the similarities between monkeypox virus and smallpox virus.
Monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.
The first symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headache, muscle aches and back pain over the course of five days.
Later rashes appear on the face, palms of the hands and soles of the feet, followed by sores, spots and finally scabs.
An increase in monkeypox infections has been reported outside West and Central African countries since early May, where the disease has long been endemic.
The EMA conducts scientific evaluation of drugs and makes recommendations on whether a drug should be marketed.
However, EMA has virtually no authority under EU law to allow marketing in various EU countries. It is the European Commission which is the authorized body and makes legally binding decisions based on the recommendation of the EMA.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)